carriage return

As pleasant a sunny disposition you’ll find out of me, summertime weariness replenished by fall semester’s flood tide of new freedoms and so it was that I released the shutter for back-to-school pictures on the front steps, this morning’s portraits bathed emerald green, giddy Oliver Fern framed in the gracefully arching myrtle and Boston ivy, the vining latter of which seems far more at home scaling the regal sandstone of those neo-gothic buildings a mile or two down the hill at the university versus the tacky, shabby asbestos-filled shingle of our house. The boys love school (though one of them has graduated to the minefield of unique cruelties and confusing locker combinations that can be junior high) but still I did my best to exercise a certain degree of Monday-morning empathy so as not to seem overly obvious. My cheeriness was temporarily tempered by the mountainously uphill climb (everyone click their carabiners three times!) several blocks to big brother’s new bus stop with the older kids. We’ll miss those pleasant strolls downvalley to the old waiting place, not to mention the centrifugal force (lopsided backpacks) of gravity those mornings we took too long, racing for the yellow limo like lame racehorses. On the bright side, by the time I’m back down to the house my metabolism’s gonna be that optimal simmer, perfect for journaling once or twice a week over a cup of coffee before smartly tackling the morning shift. Ding!

8 thoughts on “carriage return

  1. I still have an occasional dream about not remembering the locker combination.
    I’m enjoying the great image of you guys racing for the bus, everybody accelerating as gravity latches on to those backpacks. Well yes, once you’ve got your pulse going nicely, that will be a great time for jotting down some entries, and I look forward to them.

    • Our junior higher didn’t have any issues remembering his locker combination but our public school district is so strapped for funding they tend to wait until fall semester to figure out what broke and wouldn’t you know it, lockers are high on the list (or low, depending on how you look at it) and so it goes. Forgot to mention the other day that you had been on my mind as I’d been reading/finished author Dan Egan’s excellent The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, in which a prominent number of scholars/experts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are cited. Hope you’re doing well (and having a productive trip overseas).

  2. An endearing and poetic start to a new school year!

    I especially like “giddy Oliver Fern framed in the gracefully arching myrtle” and “the centrifugal force (lopsided backpacks) of gravity those mornings we took too long, racing for the yellow limo like lame racehorses”…

  3. I have no doubt that you’re certainly the most poetic of all the parents who accompany their kids to the bus stop — and it sounds like soon you’ll be among the most cardiovascularly fit, too! I do hope the elder brother’s first few days of middle school have been good, and that Oliver Fern’s enthusiasm will continue too. Happy new school year to you all!

    • It’s a distinct pleasure to hear from you, H. I’d been holding off bothering you until the dust settled from that consuming project of yours but now that you’ve given me license, we’ll have to see. It’s a bit surreal to think you and I were just crossing the Stone Arch Bridge together, last month. Such a delight meeting with you I’m afraid to admit how disappointed I felt zipping away on the train back down to Minnehaha and now don’t the warning signs click into place what a doddering caveman I would turn out to be? So thank you for pointing my wooden club and I in the right direction. Meanwhile, we would have quite a nice tour the rest of that day across lonely Wisconsin back roads to Ironwood, self-proclaimed Ski Capital of the Midwest, which also has the distinction of being home to a rustic motel with the most powerful, noisiest air conditioner on the planet.

      • … and what an enormous pleasure it is to hear back from you too! I’m still in whirling around in the eddies of endless revisions (mostly dictated by lawyers who know a lot about reducing risk but little about the rhythm of language) — but occasionally I’m getting enough of a break to come bobbing up to the surface, like an apple in a barrel. Or a dead fish in a barrel, perhaps. Either way, it really is incredible that it’s been only a few weeks since we met up, because already it feels like a lifetime ago. (Especially since it’s about 25 degrees colder, and the leaves are changing.) But what’s this about early warning signs of doddering-cavemanhood? Quite the contrary: You were every bit as kind and erudite as I expected. And taller too! It really was a privilege I hope to enjoy again sometime soon. In the meantime, how wonderful to hear that the rest of your day unfolded in an equally Midwestern fashion, including a visit to the Ski Capital of the Midwest. Now all you’re missing is the Biggest Twine Ball, and you can complete your Midwest Bingo Card (grand prize: ridiculous accent and ability to talk endlessly about the weather). All joking aside, it’s good to know you and the family made it home safely. Take good care, and I know we’ll stay in touch!

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